HomeKit-compatible devices come from many different brands, but all HomeKit devices automatically “see” one another without requiring any setup. And setting up automations—preset actions that involve one or more devices—is satisfyingly straightforward, requiring only a few taps in Apple’s Home app, which comes preinstalled on iOS devices. If you’re ready to explore what Apple HomeKit has to offer, we’ve selected our top picks from the most popular and useful categories of smart-home devices. For a closer look at HomeKit’s capabilities, we’ve put together a complete guide, “Slip on Sandals metal Slipper Women's silver Strap Rhinestone Gigi Slide Gigi POP Glitter Blue Summer pnFR0wq,” where we go deep on its pros and cons, as well as how it fares against the voice-controlled competition, Amazon’s Alexa and Echo and the Google Home system.
- HomeKit hub (for now): Apple TV 4K
- Women's Elisse Flat Steve Black Ballerina Madden vxTE5w0
- Plug-in smart outlet: Belkin Wemo Mini
- Smart in-wall light switches: Lutron Caséta
- Smart thermostat: Ecobee4
- Smart lock: August Smart Lock Pro
- Smart motion sensors: Elgato Eve Motion
- Smart garage-door controller: Chamberlain MyQ Garage
- Smart Wi-Fi security camera: Logitech Circle 2
- What to look forward to: HomePod
HomeKit hub (for now): Apple TV 4K
If you want to stay in touch with your smart devices when you leave home, you should add an Apple TV to your home network. Once connected to your HomeKit system, it acts as an Internet gateway, allowing you to monitor or control devices—using apps on your iPhone or Apple Watch, as well as voice commands through Siri—when you’re out and about. (An iPad also works, but it has to be on your home Wi-Fi network and powered on.) Both the new Apple TV 4K and the previous (4th generation) model are HomeKit-enabled, but the 4K model has a dramatically faster processor and more storage, as well as Gigabit Ethernet for speedier networking.
The Apple TV isn’t actually a proper smart hub in the same way that the SmartThings Hub or Wink Hub is—HomeKit devices communicate directly with one another over Wi-Fi, or via a nearby iOS device, not by going through the Apple TV first—but it does act as a bridge, allowing both local and remote communication with Bluetooth smart-home devices such as door/window sensors or motion sensors, or smart locks like the August Smart Lock.
The short-range nature of Bluetooth can make smart-home systems that depend on it somewhat problematic, as devices that aren’t close enough to a hub will perform erratically—you may run into delays controlling them, or total failure. In homes of even modest size, this problem can make it difficult to place devices where you want them, and some people may need multiple Apple TVs or iPads peppered around their home in order to get everything to function properly. The Apple TV 4K supports Bluetooth 5.0, which should make Bluetooth devices more responsive and help with range issues; however, many current devices don’t support Bluetooth 5.0, so we haven’t noticed a change yet.
As a media streamer, the Apple TV 4K is polished and user-friendly (see our full review in our media streamers guide), and it’s a sensible buy for an Apple-focused household with a 4K TV. If your TV is a 1080p set and you have no plans to upgrade anytime soon, opting for the older Apple TV (4th generation) model will save you some money.
Now that Apple’s HomePod is available, you can use it as your HomeKit hub instead of an Apple TV—and because HomePod includes microphones and Siri, it will probably be a better hub than the Apple TV.
Smart light bulb: Philips Hue
These color-adjustable A19 bulbs easily integrate into a HomeKit system and let you change the look of a room with the flick of a switch.
You save $30 (13%)
*At the time of publishing, the price was $140.
Adding a set of smart light bulbs is an easy first step in building a smart-home system, and the Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance A19 Gen 3 bulbs are not only the best HomeKit option but also the best all-around smart bulbs we’ve used. Going through the Home app or Siri, you can control bulbs all over your house; via the Home app, you can have them respond to triggers from other HomeKit devices. The Hue bulbs do everything their competitors do, but Hue’s wider product-and-app ecosystem allows for more flexibility and creativity than other brands offer. If you’re planning a complete home-lighting overhaul, smart switches (such as the Lutron Caséta), which cost $40 to $50 each, might make more sense, but if you’re looking to improve your ambiance and want color-changing lighting, you’ll have to go with these bulbs.
The Hue system requires the use of a Hue Bridge, but the bridge is included in the price of a Hue starter kit, and one Bridge supports a home with 50 bulbs (which are also available individually). Once you’re all set up, you can start having fun changing colors and creating HomeKit scenes—perhaps time-based, or when another device acts as a trigger, or when you arrive home. Hue color lights are capable of 16 million colors, including a wide range of whites, and Hue bulbs react much faster to app commands than any other smart bulb we’ve tried. Hue bulbs are certainly not the least-expensive ones we’ve tested, but their reliable performance and wide compatibility make them a solid choice for anyone from newbies to smart-home enthusiasts.
Plug-in smart outlet: Belkin Wemo Mini
The Belkin Wemo Mini is the most compact way to add remote control to lamps, fans, and other electronic devices. If you want to use our favorite smart plug with HomeKit, you’ll need to add the Wemo Bridge. Just plug the dongle into your router, add it to the Home app, and start calling out commands to Siri. It works with all of the current Wemo lineup.
If you don’t want to add another device, the iHome iSP8 is just as compact and adds in energy-monitoring features, so, for example, you can see how much energy your lava lamp is wasting. If your smartphone isn’t nearby, or if you want to take a break from delivering voice commands via Siri, the iSP8 also comes with a separate physical remote control. The remote is extremely basic, offering just on-off features for the plug from up to 35 feet away, but it doesn’t require line of sight.
Smart in-wall light switches: Lutron Caséta
This system lets you automate your whole-house lighting with HomeKit and is the most dependable device we’ve tested with Apple’s system.
The Philips Hue is our favorite smart LED bulb for upgrading the lighting in a room or in existing lamps, but if you’re planning on a more comprehensive upgrade that allows for control of entire fixtures, Lutron’s Caséta Wireless Smart Lighting Dimmer Switch Starter Kit is our HomeKit (and overall) favorite.Toe WeenFashion PU Black Women's On Low Solid Boots Round Pull Heels Closed qqYZra
Lutron’s smart dimmer replaces your existing wall switches. Installation is the same as with a regular dimmer switch (but you’ll also need the Caséta gateway hub), making it appropriate for experienced DIYers; novices may want to leave it to a pro, as it involves fiddling with home wiring. Once you swap out your old switches, you can use the Caséta in-wall switches to directly dim installed fixtures or turn them on or off. But you can also control the Caséta switches wirelessly with Siri or iOS apps, as well as integrate them into HomeKit automations with other devices—a hybrid approach of new and old that’s more useful and practical than many smart-home aficionados would care to admit.
If you don’t want a hub, the Belkin Wemo Light Switch can control lights using any existing Wi-Fi network. This model doesn’t dim, but it does offer remote control through the app. If you want to bark out commands to Siri, add the Wemo Bridge to the Home app. Just know that for control outside of the home, the Bridge needs to be paired with an Apple TV or iPad at home.
Smart thermostat: Ecobee4
This versatile, cross-platform thermostat makes your HVAC more efficient while offering quick access to other smart devices in your home.
You can find several HomeKit-enabled thermostats for controlling and monitoring home heating and cooling, but our favorite HomeKit option is the Don Black Salvatore Sandal Ferragamo Mens EwaaInFOfq. (This model is the successor to the Ecobee3, one of our overall smart-thermostat favorites.) Integrating the Ecobee4 with your HomeKit devices is straightforward, and the Ecobee4 can control other devices such as humidifiers and dehumidifiers. In addition to working with HomeKit, the Ecobee4 also has Amazon Alexa built in, a key feature for anyone who has a hybrid smart home. This means that when you’re in shouting range of the Ecobee4, you can easily control the thermostat and other HomeKit or cross-platform devices using your voice, but also remotely via an app or Siri. However, unlike with some smart thermostats, installing the Ecobee4 requires a three-wire setup for power, or the use of an adapter cable, which may complicate things for older homes, many of which have two-wire setups.
Besides an attractive display and intuitive user interface, we think the Ecobee4’s most compelling feature as a thermostat is its inclusion of a remote sensor, which is meant to reside in an area of your home—say, a bedroom or sitting room—that isn’t heating or cooling as well you’d like. The idea is that you can have the Ecobee4 use the remote sensor’s temperature instead of the main unit’s, or even average the temperature settings between the two. You can also add multiple sensors, an especially useful option in a home with multiple zones or a poorly placed thermostat. If you don’t need the remote sensors or built-in Alexa but still want a thermostat as part of your HomeKit system, the Ecobee3 Lite otherwise works exactly the same as the Ecobee4 but is typically $80 cheaper.
Smart lock: August Smart Lock Pro
This versatile and stylish HomeKit lock adds brains to existing deadbolts.
August’s Smart Lock Pro supports a laundry list of smart-home standards (far more than any other lock) and is our top pick among HomeKit-enabled smart locks. Unlike full replacement locks, the August kit uses your existing deadbolt lock but replaces its interior knob with a large dial. The Smart Lock Pro package includes an August Connect Wi-Fi Bridge as well as the company’s Door Sense, a mini sensor that installs on your door and lets the lock know whether the door is open or closed. August provides extremely good documentation plus thoughtful touches everywhere, such as strips of painter’s tape for securing the lock during installation and color-coded parts—installation borders on delightful.
On its own, you can control the Smart Lock Pro via August’s app on an iPhone or Apple Watch, or with your voice through Siri (or Alexa). You can also set it up (in the August app, rather than within Apple’s Home app) to automatically unlock when you arrive home. (For security reasons Apple requires you to first unlock your phone to allow auto unlock.) You can also share access with other people, though they’ll need to download and install the August app. When you’ve connected the lock to HomeKit and coupled it with an Apple TV, you can receive notifications whenever the lock opens or closes, and control the lock remotely via Siri or app. Using the August Connect, which acts as a Wi-Fi bridge, you can do those same things and also get detailed notifications of which person accessed your door. (HomeKit sends only generic notifications, such as “front door was locked.”)
A smart lock like the HomeKit-compatible Kwikset Premis is a full replacement lock with a dedicated keypad. The Premis, which worked wonderfully in our testing, completely frees its owner from carrying not only keys but also a smartphone, with the trade-off of giving your door a more industrial appearance.
Smart motion sensors: Elgato Eve Motion
On their own, smart devices are capable of nifty things, but the magic really happens when you let them work together. Elgato’s Eve Motion, one of the company’s line of Eve smart sensors, is a Bluetooth version of a basic motion sensor: Set it in a corner, on a shelf, or on a wall, and it can send a basic notification to your iPhone when it detects motion—or, even better, act as a motion-based trigger for another HomeKit device. For example, we set one up to turn on a light if it’s triggered—but only when no one is home.
As we’ve noted before, sensors that communicate via Bluetooth are only as reliable as their connection to either a hub or your iOS device, and that restriction greatly affects their usefulness. For instance, we’ve had mixed results with an Elgato Eve Room, which keeps track of temperature, air quality, and humidity: Because of range issues, it has typically failed to connect unless we’re standing beside it, and even then, loading historical measurements requires our standing by the device and waiting several minutes for the data to transfer.
Another company, Fibaro, also has a line of HomeKit-compatible sensors, including the terrifically useful Flood Sensor. Place this puck-like disk in an area where water would flow in a flood condition, perhaps near a water heater, a clothes washer, or the low point of a basement, and—again, so long as the sensor is within Bluetooth range of a HomeKit hub—it will send out an instant notification if it detects water. You can even set it up to trigger another device, such as turning a smart Hue bulb on and changing its color to bright red, in case you don’t have a phone handy to receive that notification.
Smart garage-door controller: Chamberlain MyQ Garage
The MyQ Garage is impressively simple to set up and use, widely compatible, and designed to let you open or close your garage remotely. The Home Bridge adds HomeKit support.
If your garage door serves as your front door—and you’re never quite sure whether you closed it—a smart garage-door controller is a useful way to dip your toes into the smart-home waters. The Chamberlain MyQ Garage (MYQ-G0301) with the separate Mikey Taylor Black gum Skate Taylor Shoe Signature Vulc Mikey DC Men's qPZwnxEIgP takes just 15 minutes to install and set up (though you’ll need to drill some holes). Once you have it up and running, you can tell Siri to open and close your garage door from your phone, tablet, or Apple Watch, and also control the opener using Control Center’s Home item, or the MyQ app, on your iPhone or iPad. (The Home app requires you to unlock your phone for access, unless you’re using an Apple Watch; the MyQ app can protect access by PIN, Touch ID, or Face ID.)
If you also have an iPad or a fourth-generation or 4K Apple TV in your home, you can add your door to automations to instruct, for example, certain lights or door locks to turn on or open when the garage door opens. You can also set the MyQ opener to trigger when you leave or arrive home based on your phone-based geolocation—though as a safety measure, you need to respond to a prompt that appears on your phone to prevent accidental activations (again, unless you are wearing an Apple Watch that’s paired to your iPhone). The MyQ app also provides a full history of the activity of the door—and real-time notifications when the door is triggered—and allows you to add doors from different homes. We especially like the ability to enable Touch ID or Face ID on the MyQ app for verification, which makes using the app fast but still secure.
Smart Wi-Fi security camera: Logitech Circle 2
The corded version of the Circle 2 features an easy-to-use app, clear images, and 24 hours of free recording storage.
You save $25 (15%)
*At the time of publishing, the price was $175.
The Logitech Circle 2 (wired) is one of the few HomeKit-compatible security cameras around, and it happens to be excellent. It delivers crystal-clear 1080p images during the day and at night, two-way communication, and notifications that distinguish between people and general motion. Once added to your HomeKit network, the Circle 2 can act as a trigger for automations, so you can, for example, configure an automation that turns on the lights if the camera detects motion when you aren’t home. The Circle 2 requires a nearby power outlet, which may be an issue for some homes, but we weren’t impressed by the wireless version of the Circle 2, which leaves significant gaps in recordings.
In addition to supporting Apple HomeKit, the Circle 2 is compatible with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. The company provides 24 hours of free cloud storage, and you can bump that to 14 days via the Circle Safe Basic plan for $4 per month per camera. However, the $10 (per month, per camera) Premium plan, which gives you 31 days of storage, offers the benefit of making the camera a lot smarter by adding zones, filter options, and the capability to differentiate between people, pets, and other movement.
What to look forward to: HomePod
A significant development for many current and potential HomeKit users is the arrival of the Apple HomePod, a voice-controlled speaker much like the Amazon Echo and Google Home, that also acts as a HomeKit hub. HomeKit devices work just fine without a hub, but you do need a hub to control them remotely or to get notifications when you’re away from home. The HomePod should also allow for a better voice-control experience, since you’ll no longer need to have your iPhone or iPad handy to summon Siri.
Unfortunately, when we tested the HomePod shortly after its release in February 2018, we were disappointed in its “smart” functionality. Although the speaker sounds fantastic, its other uses can’t compare with Google or Alexa. Even more disappointing is that you can’t stream Bluetooth audio to your HomePod—even though it has Bluetooth 5.0 built-in. One of the most common complaints we’ve heard and personally experienced with HomeKit—and other smart-home systems—is that Bluetooth devices aren’t reliable in a smart-home setting because they’re often out of range of one another; we hope Apple will address this problem in an update, preferably sooner rather than later.
Apple’s announcement that the company will allow certification of HomeKit devices without requiring a special HomeKit hardware component means that we can expect a good number of new HomeKit devices in 2018, as well as updates to existing devices to make them compatible with HomeKit. We’ll update this guide, and all of our smart-home guides, as new and updated devices become available.